5 strange allergies, from sex to sunlight

Unlike pollen or cat dander, there are some seemingly bizzare allergies afflicting people today.
Pollen and dust aren't the only allergens -- for example, some people break out in hives when exposed to water. (iStock)

Many people with allergies spend pollen season miserable or flinch at the sight of a long-haired cat, but things could be worse — you could be allergic to water or sex.

Here's are some seemingly bizarre allergies that afflict people throughout the world.


A professor of sexual psychopharmacology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands has published studies in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that say some men endure an allergic reaction after they orgasm. They are in fact allergic to their own semen, according to the research. These men can experience fevers, runny nose, fatigue and and burning eyes immediately after they ejaculate, and symptoms can last for up to a week. While the condition is rare, it has been documented in scientific studies for about 10 years.


Though water is essential and makes up more than half of our body weight, some people are actually allergic to it. This allergy is known as aquagenic urticaria, and occurs when people who are sensitive break out in hives when they are exposed to water. Showering and bathing can be difficult, and doctors usually recommend that suffers bathe as briefly as possible. Traditional antihistamines can help alleviate the irritation, and hives usually go away on their own after about half an hour.


Soaking up vitamin D on the beach becomes difficult when you have solar urticaria, or a sun allergy. Much like the aquatic version, people with this allergy break out in hives when exposed to the sun. Doctors usually recommend keeping time spent in the sun brief, and covering up as much as possible. Antihistamines help the condition, and the hives usually vanish within about half an hour of getting into the shade.


Another puzzler is an allergy to touch known as demographism. The afflicted person's skin can become raised with hives simply by touching it. The flaring is sometimes referred to as "skin writing," as a person can cause raised hives to form on their body simply by running a fingernail over their skin. Tight fitting clothing and even the pressure from a chair can cause hives to appear on the skin of those with this allergy.


Some people may claim to hate the cold, but those with cold urticaria actually break out in hives when the temperature drops. Though taking antihistamines can help, being immersed in cold water can be extremely dangerous for someone with an allergy to cold, as it can lead to fainting, shock, and in severe instances, death.